So much for a quarterback controversy.
If Sean Maguire didn’t win the job after his first start against Syracuse two weeks ago, he did after coming off the bench Saturday against North Carolina State.
Maguire rallied Florida State from a 10-point deficit to an easy 34-17 victory over the Wolfpack at Doak Campbell Stadium. And while coach Jimbo Fisher is never one to make an early declaration when it comes to his quarterback, he did say this:
“I thought he did a great job of earning the job today.”
Sean Maguire is the Seminoles quarterback the rest of the season, make no mistake. Especially after Everett Golson accounted for three turnovers in 19 minutes Saturday, allowing N.C. State to build a 17-7 lead.
All Maguire did was come in and lead No. 16 Florida State (8-2, 6-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) to scoring drives on his first four series (two touchdowns, two field goals) and finish the game with 231 yards on 18-of-28 passing and two touchdowns to Kermit Whitfield.
Florida State outscored the Wolfpack (6-4, 2-4) 27-0 after Maguire entered and had all but 75 of its 479 total yards.
Maguire had help and it came from the Seminoles’ most-dynamic player. Running back Dalvin Cook broke the school single-season rushing record on his third carry, surpassing Warrick Dunn’s mark of 1,242 yards.
Cook finished with 138 yards on 22 carries, giving him 1,369 on the year.
“I don’t know who’s the best back in the country,” Fisher said. “But I wouldn’t trade that one for anybody in America.”
But Fisher now knows who’s the best quarterback on the Seminoles roster.
Fisher once again reiterated that he believed senior Golson was the best option to attack N.C. State, but, “We were in a bad rut. He had a couple of tough plays. You can’t turn the ball over like that.”
After Golson’s third turnover (which was two more than he had all season entering the game), quarterback coach Randy Sanders told Maguire, a redshirt junior, to start warming up.
Fisher said he spoke with his quarterbacks during the week about making a change if things didn’t go well and he spoke more than once with Maguire about his decision to start Golson.
“We talked that day, came back the next day, talked again,” Fisher said. “Why? I spend a lot of time with that. I think that’s extremely important to have open communication.
“What he did and the maturity he showed to be ready. ... That’s not easy to do.”
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Fisher insists Maguire did not lose the job after he could not get the Seminoles’ offense into the end zone last week at Clemson following Cook’s long touchdown run on the game’s second play.
“They thought, get a little more quarterback movement,” Maguire said. “That was the decision and you just got to be ready.”
Maguire, though, said it wasn’t easy accepting the decision when he believed the job was his.
“It was tough especially after the two weeks, the emotion from last week,” said Maguire, who threw for 348 yards and three touchdowns two weeks ago against Syracuse before struggling in last week’s 23-13 loss to top-ranked Clemson. “Obviously you’re upset.”
Maguire needed 2:15 to pull FSU within 17-14, leading a drive that ended with a Cook 30-yard touchdown run. Then, he engineered a two-minute drive at the end of the half that pulled FSU back even on Roberto Aguayo’s 40-yard field goal.
Another Aguayo field goal and scoring passes of 27 and 45 yards to Whitfield ended the scoring.
“We’re very confident in Sean,” Cook said. “He’s one of the leaders on offense. He took that role. In practice this week, he was very vocal. I saw that in him. I saw that he was ready.
“That’s just Sean. Sean is that confident guy. He is going to wait for his moment. When his moment comes, he is going to show up.”